ZKM FilmIsle
Kathryn Bigelow behind the camera on the set of »Strange Days« (1995).
Retrospective Kathryn Bigelow
Wed, 11.08. – Fri, 13.08.2021, daily from 7 pm
Isle Hub on the Forecourt
Languages: German, English

ZKM is showing a three-day retrospective of director and Academy Award winner Kathryn Bigelow.

Kathryn Bigelow's (*1951) career is marked by her beginnings in the visual arts and the New York avant-garde scene. As an art and film student at Columbia University in the 1970s, she came into contact with critical theory and structuralism while collaborating as actress, cinematographer, screenwriter and/or editor with filmmakers such as Richard Serra (»Prisoner's Dilemma«, 1974) and her mentor Lawrence Weiner, a pioneer in the formation of conceptual art. For a time she was part of the artist group »Art & Language«. Since then, as a director, she has brought the intellectual into the action and thriller genre: a connection she already established in her first short film »The Set-Up« (1978), in which two men fight in the street while a philosophical conversation about violence in cinema plays on the soundtrack.

Bigelow retained this core theme of critical engagement with violence and its aspects and contradictions even after her transition to Hollywood, with which she wanted to reach out to a broader audience. For her, the fascination of cinema as a mass medium lies in its transgression of social class boundaries: while visual art appeals to a niche audience, film and cinema can create a collective experience and stimulate people's subconscious in a direct way. At the same time, Bigelow is always aware of the function of art as a medium of critique and the political: »What I learned was that art has a political responsibility. It's not meant to be decorative.«

In these explorations, she treads paths outside of the big screen, for example with journalistically influenced works such as the virtual reality documentary »The Protectors: Walk in the Rangers' Shoes« (2017) about the fight against poaching in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Bigelow wants to use VR formats of this kind in the future, for example to evoke empathy for the problems of climate change.

For »The Hurt Locker« (2008), Kathryn Bigelow won as the first woman the Academy Award for Best Director.

The three-day retrospective at the FilmIsle (ZKM Forecourt) shows works by the director in English-language original sound (partly with German subtitles).



Wednesday, 11.08.2021

    • 7 pm | »The Protectors: Walking in the Rangers' Shoes« (2017)
    • 7.15 pm | »Detroit« (2017)

Thursday, 12.08.2021

    • 7 pm | »The Loveless« (1981)
    • 21 pm | »Blue Steel« (1990)

Friday, 13.08.2021

    • 7 pm | »Near Dark« (1987)
    • 21 pm | »Strange Days« (1995)
Organization / Institution
ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe